Membership Explained

Anyone who meets the criteria for membership may join IMHN. This criteria differs for organisations, people under the age of 18, and people over the age of 18. The criteria is set out in IMHN’s Constitution; the legal governing document of IMHN as a registered charity. The provision on membership can be found here. 

This guide is simply intended to re-state the membership criteria in an alternative way. It is not intended to supplement, supersede, or replace the provision as set out in the constitution.

Individuals over the age of 18 years old

Criteria for full membership:

The individual will usually be living in; or registered with a GP practice in; or accessing Mental Health services in the defined boundary area that the branch has been formed in; and

  • Are over the age of eighteen


  • An individual who has ever used Mental Health services; or
  • An individual who is currently using Mental Health services; or
  • An individual currently trying to access Mental Health services; or
  • An individual who self-defines as having had or currently having Mental Health issues.

The final provision is based on our principles of self-identification, and lived experience. If you have previous or current lived experience of mental health, you are eligible for membership, even if you have no contact with mental health services.

Why is this? If you fall into the previous three categories (are currently, have previously, or are currently trying to access Mental Health Services), then this indicates lived experience of mental health. However, you do not necessarily need to have had contact with mental health services to have lived experience of mental health. 

Lived experience of mental health can be personal, or be experienced as a result of a friend, relative or acquaintance having experienced a mental health issue. You could be supporting or caring for them.

You do not need to prove your experience to become a member – you can self-define.

Meeting this criteria entitles full membership, which grants full membership rights.

Individuals under the age of 18

If you are under the age of 18, you unfortunately do not meet the criteria of full membership. However, you can still alternatively join as an associate member. Associate membership does not grant full membership rights, but you can still attend and speak at meetings.

Individuals who do not wish to join as full members

If you meet the criteria for full membership, but do not wish to join as a full member, you can opt for associate membership.


User-led groups and User-led Self Help groups may join IMHN as a group. Representatives from these groups may also join in their own right as individual members.